While the encroaching spring season often brings about a flurry of activity in the agricultural sector after the slow, frosty winter months, students and staff at the Marshalltown Learning Academy (MLA) have already been hard at work over the past several months growing their own fresh produce locally.
The school has recently launched a hydroponic farming initiative focused on giving students opportunities to become involved in growing sustainable, natural foods as part of the curriculum.
Hydroponic farming is a type of horticulture that involves growing plants, usually crops or medicinal plants, without soil, by using water-based mineral nutrient solutions in fluid solvents. The agricultural technique has become popular in more urban areas without large plots of suitable growing land and in colder climates with shorter growing seasons. It uses significantly less water than traditional methods, oftentimes up to 90% less, and requires minimal manual labor while providing faster-growing, higher-yielding plant produce.
As MLA Principal Eric Goslinga says, the new curriculum is part of the school’s efforts to give students more direct instruction on tangible subjects independent from the typical school environment.
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